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Police unaware of Childline units to trace missing kids

Seema Sharma  Tribune News Service

Dehradun April 19

It is quite disheartening that the state police has no knowledge of the existence of Childline units and funds in each district of the state. In wake of children missing from the state, the police is required to keep in touch with Childline units for the search, rescue and rehabilitation of these children. The fact came to the light when a senior Supreme Court advocate, Ravi Kant, who handles cases regarding human trafficking, enquired from the police officials during a workshop on the subject. Merely three hands raised and they too gave incorrect information saying two-three Childline units existed in the state.

The Director-General of Police, Satyavrat Bansal, however, set the record right, when The Tribune talked to him on the matter. Bansal said each district had one Childline unit.

It is a matter of serious concern as there are 1,300 children who went missing in the past three years have not been traced as yet. Whether these children have been engaged in child labour or sexual abuse is also not clear. The state police, which did not carry the search operations in different states due lack of funds, had no knowledge of several schemes enacted for the purpose.

The head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell and Deputy Inspector General of Police, CID, Pushkar Sailala, said that he would soon call a meeting with the representatives of Child Working Committee and Childline to ensure effective working plan in this direction.

Ravi Kant said, “The state police faces problem of fund shortage. The police does not has adequate funds for travelling to other states for searching missing children and rescuing them. But they also do not know that each Childline unit is given Rs 10 to 12 lakh for the rehabilitation of each child. This fund can be utilised by the police in coordination with Childline for travelling to other states. It can happen only if the police is fully informed about this fact.”

Kant also threw light on the other avenues available to police for getting funds. He said the department could take steps for establishing District Child Protection Society (DCPA) which can be constituted with a team of two counsellors, one social worker, one coordinator etc. The DCPA team can get different set of funds such as rescue fund, shelter fund and transportation funds.

Besides this, he said the department could also get funds under Ujjawala scheme run by the Centre government. Under this scheme financial support is given at each level, including rehabilitation of children. Kant said it was important for the police to know where to send children for rehabilitation.

He said, in Andhra Pradesh where 8,000 children went missing last year, as many as 7,500 were recovered in the same year. In West Bengal only 10 per cent of the 3,000 missing children could be traced. It all depends on how effectively the state police investigate the cases, Ravi Kant added. 

Ignorance of funds available

The police faces problem of fund shortage. The police does not have adequate funds for travelling to other states for searching missing children and rescuing them. But it also does not know that each Childline unit is given Rs 10 lakh to 12 lakh for the rehabilitation of a child. This fund can be used by the police in coordination with Childline for travelling to other states. It can happen only if the police is fully informed about this fact.

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